Enniskillen Dragoon (1) (The)
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ENNISKILLEN DRAGOON(S) , THE (Dragunide Inis-Cetlenn). AKA - "Scilléd dubh." Irish, Air or March (2/4 or 4/4 time). D Major (Joyce, O'Neill). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "This song, though of Ulster origin, was a great favourite in Munster, where I learned it when very young: it was indeed sung all over Ireland. I published the words more than fifty years ago in a newspaper called The Tipperary Leader, and I have several copies printed on ballad-sheets. Some few years ago I gave a copy of the air--as I had it in memory--to Dr. Sigerson, who wrote a new song to it which was published in Mr. A.P. Graves's Irish Song Book; and in that publication--so far as I know--the air appeared in print for the first time" (Joyce). O'Neill (1913) points out that this belongs to a category of tunes which are formed of four parts of equal length; a first and last part which are nearly identical, a second part which ascends in scale and becomes "bold, energetic and impassioned," and a third part which is a variant of the second. Tunes with similar structures are "Billy Byrne of Ballymanus," "Colleen I'm Courting Just Now (The)," "Father Tom O'Neill," "Foggy Dew (1) (The)," "Good Morning Fair Maid," "Irish Molly O," "Maid of Sweet Gurteen (The)," "Roving Pedlar (2) (The)," "Seamus Mo Mile Stor," "Sweet Beaulieu Grove," and "Tossing of the Hay (The)." The melody was played by the late Donegal fiddlers Johnny and Mickey Doherty in a famous set in which "Enniskillen" was the first tune paired with "Nóra Críona (1)" (Wise Nora) and "Miss McLeod's Reel (1)" (though sometimes "Piper of Keadue (The)" was substituted for "McLeod's"). The fiddle tuning for the set was ADae and required playing in position. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) sees this set as rendered by the Dohertys "a classic piece of pipe imitation."
The lands of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, were anciently held by the Maguire clan, but under James I they were granted to William Cole and settled by the English. The town and surrounds became one of the principal strongholds of the English plantation during the late 17th century and remained loyal to William III. Enniskillen men formed a backbone of William's Irish forces and participated in the victory of the Boyne. Various regiments of Lancers were formed from these units: the 5th Royal Irish Lancers were raised in 1689 as Wynne's Regiment of Enniskillen Dragoons. The 5th saw action in Flanders, Spain and Ireland before being disbanded in 1799. It was raised again in 1858 and served in the Boer War and World War I. Two present-day regiments of the British Army (the 27th Foot/Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Inniskilling Dragoons) trace their lineage to the Williamite Enniskillen men.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 399, pp. 208-209. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 411, p. 72. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; Nos. 1243-1245, p. 313 (appears as "Scilléd dubh").